Last week we left Gwawl trapped in a bag…
The assembled guests jumped to their feet in outrage and dismay, apart from Rhiannon, who looked into the eyes of her hero, who was, after all, like every other human, not perfect.
It only lasted a moment. Pwyll blew the hunting horn around his neck, and his men came pouring in from every door. Man to man, they took Gwawl’s men prisoner.
Pwyll threw off his rags, and, when the shouting had stopped, called, “Lord Gwawl, do you hear me?”
There was no answer, so Pwyll continued, “I am Pwyll. As you outwitted me, so I have outwitted you. You will stay in that bag until you agree to give up Rhiannon.”
“Lord,” said Gwawl finally, “it does not become a nobleman like me to be shut up in a bag.”
“He speaks the truth, lord.” Hefeydd, Rhiannon’s father, chimed in.
“Well,” said Pwyll, looking at Rhiannon, “I will do what you suggest.”
Rhiannon rose and came to stand beside Pwyll, “Well, Gwawl, do you give me up?”
Rhiannon raised her voice, “Do you give me up?!”
A muttered “Yes,” came from the bag.
“And swear you will not take revenge for what has been done to you.”
“I swear it,” Gwawl said through gritted teeth.
“Then I accept that,” said Pwyll.
He undid the sack and Gwawl, looking furious, was helped out of the bag by two of Pwyll’s men. But he managed to restrain his tongue.
“Lord,” he said, “I would ask your permission to retire.” And with that he gathered together what remained of his dignity and departed, stringy bits of meat hanging from his hair.
When he had gone, Pwyll turned to the lady beside him, who was trying to maintain a dignified pose, but she couldn’t help beaming at him. They hugged joyously.
“Set the hall in order,” Hefeydd commanded from the high table. “Bring in more food!”
“Are you going to send me home again?” Pwyll whispered to Rhiannon.
“No,” she smiled, “We shouldn’t wait any longer, and besides, who knows what Gwawl could plan in a year.”
They sat down at the table, with a bridegroom swap yet again. Pwyll and Rhiannon talked as before, looking deeper and deeper into each other’s faces. No more separations, no more plots and doubts. They would be together now forever.